4 upcoming Panthers free agents who may not be back in 2022

Dean Jones
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Robby Anderson
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Robby Anderson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Jermaine Carter /

Which Carolina Panthers players who are free agents next year may not be back with the team in 2022?

It’s never too early to start looking ahead at what could be to come for the Carolina Panthers in the not-too-distant future. Free agency is always at the back of a team’s mind no matter what time of year it is, so those in power will already be examining the potential ramifications of current members of the roster who are out of contract next spring.

Credit to the Panthers, who did a remarkable job of maintaining a competitive roster with little in the way of financial resources available due to a reduced salary cap as COVID-19 revenue losses swept the league. This was the first indicator that they hired the right man to replace Marty Hurney as general manager, with Scott Fitterer making his presence felt in impressive fashion throughout the recruitment period this offseason.

Whether this translates to improvement on the field remains to be seen. Carolina’s roster looks far stronger in terms of depth than it did this time last year, but there could be some big changes afoot once again in 2022 judging by the number of free agents whose contracts are up for renewal.

With this in mind, here are four key members of the Panthers that may not be back with the team for completely differing reasons.

Player No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Paradis /

Matt Paradis – Carolina Panthers C

There was speculation linking Matt Paradis with an early exit for the Panthers this offseason in a potential cost-cutting measure thanks to a shrinking cap. The center got a reprieve of sorts when the team opted to restructure his contract instead, allowing him to see out the final year of his deal in 2021.

Whether Paradis is around after that remains to be seen. He did show signs of life last season despite the two guards alongside him struggling in pass protection, but another step forward will be needed from the former Boise State star if he wants to earn a longer stay in Carolina.

The problem the Panthers now have where Paradis is concerned is they still owe him a ton of money in 2022 even if he doesn’t come back in free agency. This was a necessary sacrifice in the current climate and might play a factor in their decision.